LOCAL JUDGE VIEWS ‘COSMIC MAGIC’

Judge Hershel Stagner and his wife Debra, traveled to Hopkinsville, Kentucky on Aug. 21 to view the eclipse at the epicenter of totality. The eclipse lasted 2:41 minutes. It had been 99 years since America’s last Pacific to Atlantic total solar eclipse in 1919 and 38 years since the last such eclipse occurred in the continental United States. In 1979 this writer witnessed it but that was before almost half of Americans alive to see Monday’s eclipse were born. A nation separated by politics, threats of nuclear war from North Korea and racial violence in Charlottesville, VA. was unified by a natural event that started in the blue state of Oregon and ended about 90 minutes later, traveling at 2,000 miles per hour, in the red state of South Carolina. Judge Stagner said, “People came from all over to see day turn into night, darkness at noon.” The Judge has a cousin who lives in Hopkinsville, which was ground zero for full viewing. It was a celestial event that the Stagners had the opportunity to witness. The next total eclipse will be in 2024, ground zero for that event will be between Dallas and Waco. I may not be here with you to see it but I bet Judge Hershel and Ms. Debra will again get a front row seat when the sun again shuts down, this time in Texas, seven years from now. Some where in this issue we are running a great shot of the Total Eclipse that the Judge took. Judge Derry Dunn’s son, Dr. Mark Dunn, lives just out of Portland, Oregon where the eclipse started its journey though the U.S. Sean Gros, a Bridge City boy stationed in far northern California with the Coast Guard, was just a few miles away.*****I have a long way to go. Please hop on and come along. I promise it won’t do you no harm.

TRUMP FAMILY PUTS DRAIN ON SECRET SERVICE

Secret Service Director “Tex” Alles said, “The Secret Service can no longer afford to pay hundreds of agents to protect Trumps large family and multiple residences up and down the east coast. Trump, in the past seven months has traveled almost every weekend. His adult children’s business trips and vacations have taken them across the country and overseas. Besides travel, the agency must maintain regular security at Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, Bedminister Golf Club in New Jersey and Trump Tower in Manhattan. When the President visits each place the extra coast is $3 million. Trumps adult children, Don Jr. and his family, Eric and his family and Ivanka and son-in-law Jaren Kushner and their family all have Secret Service protection. Example: Eric Trump’s business travel to Uruguay cost $100,000 just for Secret Service hotel rooms. Eric also traveled to the UK, Dominican Republic, Vancouver and Dubai. In March the agency accompanied Ivanka and family on a skiing vacation to Aspen Colorado. Tiffany Trump, youngest daughter, took vacations to Germany and Hungary with her boyfriend, which also required Secret Service protection. The agency has spent $60,000 on golf cart rental for the agents at Mar-a-Lago alone. Trump doesn’t give them a rental break on the carts. Officials had hoped that the agency’s workload would normalize after the inauguration but Trumps frequent weekend trips and his family’s business travel and higher number has made it impossible. So far, in seven months, Trump’s protection has coast as much as protecting the Obama’s for eight years. Overwork and constant travel has driven a recent exodus from the Secret Service ranks. More than 1000 agents have hit the federally mandated cap for salary and overtime allowances that was meant to last all year. Director Alles said, “We are not even able to pay agents for the work they have already done.” Secret Service demands will continue to be higher than ever throughout the Trump Administration. Talks are underway in the senate to ensure agents, who put their lives on the line everyday, will get paid fairly for their work. Many haven’t been paid for overtime. Without legislative relief at least 1,100 agents now would not be eligible for overtime. Next month, 150 foreign heads of state are expected in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. This will require a massive deployment of agents. Before Donald Trump became president he and his children all had hired security. Those folks are billionaires. It seems at least the adult children could furnish their own security. They won’t and the Secret Service gives protection to the corporate Trump business organization and Americans pay for it.

TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME

10 Years Ago-2007

Judge Carl Thibodeaux is a tough Cajun. He had back surgery last week and the doctors told him he would be out of commission for six weeks. That ain’t gonna happen, he’ll be back at the Court House next week if EMS has to bring him back and forth. *****In the last two weeks, 53 troops have been killed. Iraqi refugees, now numbering two million, are leaving at a pace of 3,000 a day. It’s estimated that one million Iraq citizens, men, women and children, have been killed since the United States invaded. Experts predict that the invasion will end up costing U.S. taxpayers $1 trillion. The Bush surge of troops has not stopped the violence. Iraq citizens are dying at twice the rate of one year ago.  Finally, Sen. John Warner, one of the most respected Republican senators, is speaking up and saying enough already. Even though he calls for a withdrawal of only 5,000 troops out of 163,000 by Christmas, it’s a start. Warner has followers that will join Democrats to force the Administration’s hand. Bush and Cheney have previously ignored all calls to bring our troops home. Just think of all the good the money and manpower could have done in our country if greed wouldn’t have gotten in some very dangerous people’s eyes. Iraq is the most failed action in our lifetime and is draining our economy and killing and wounding our young. Many come home to nothing, their families gone and everything lost. Veterans are committing suicide at an alarming rate. *****Garza, Bridge City Pioneer Dies: Gustavo ‘Gus’ Garza, 89 passed away Friday, August 24. Gus and wife Angelina were pillars of the Bridge City community since 1946. Services were held Monday, 11 a.m. at St. Henry, the Catholic Church. He had faithfully served for many years. Gus, a photographer by trade, worked for Texaco for 37 years. During his 23 years on the BCISD, he was a driving force in the fast growing school district. He and Ms. Angelina raised a great family in their adopted home of Parrieview, which later became Bridge City. The school district and community are better off today because of the contributions made by Gus, his wife and family. He was a good man.*****Condolences to ‘Buckshot’ and his family on the death of his only sibling, sister Jeanette Winfree, 69, who died last week after a long illness. Jeanette left her mark in the field of health care for the elderly. She was honored with several service awards in recognition of her influence in the field of physical therapy. Her achievements reached around the globe. Editor’s note: Since then Buckshot has also passed away.)***** Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned, affective Sept. 17, ending a months-long standoff with Republican and Democratic critics who called for his ouster over the Justice Department’s botched handling of FBI terror investigations and firing of eight U.S. attorneys. A longtime friend of Bush, who once considered him for appointment to the Supreme Court, Gonzales is the fourth high ranking administration official to leave since Nov. 2006. Donald Rumsfeld, an architect of the Iraq war, resigned as defense secretary one day after the Nov. elections. Paul Wolfowitz agreed in May to step down as president of the World Bank after an ethics inquiry. And top Bush adviser Karl Rove earlier this month announced he was stepping down.*****On August 27, 1908, Lyndon  Baines Johnson, our 36th president, was born near Stonewall, Texas. He did a lot of good things while in office.***** Suspended NFL quarterback Michael Vick pleads guilty in Pit Bull dog fighting case. He will be sentenced Dec. 10. He accepts responsibly and could get up to five years, but probably will get two years or less. GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Mary Ann Fountain, 68, of Orange, passed away August 22. Funeral services were Friday, August 24.  She is survived by her husband, Ernest Cecil “Pat” Fountain, sons, David Bailey, Jody Bailey, Brady Fountain and Brett Fountain, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

BIRTHDAYS

A few folks we know celebrating birthdays in the coming week. Aug. 24: Our buddy, Sheriff Keith’s, longtime wife Marlene, celebrates a landmark birthday today. Also celebrating are Belen Zuniga, Ben Ezell and Carol Cups. Celebrating a anniversary today are Theresa and Coach Frank Beauchamp. Frank will also celebrate a birthday soon. He’s as old as Capt. Dickie. They are joined by entrepreneur Vince McMahon, 71, comedian Dave Chappelle, 43, football player Arian Foster, 30 and baseball player Cal Ripken, Jr., 56.*****Aug. 25: A bunch of good folks we know celebrate today. Our friend Dot Hudson, who is on the rebound from battling illness, deserves a great birthday today. Others celebrating are John’s better half, Glynis Gothia, Coach Dan Ray Hooks, SRA’s David Montagne, Ron Cowling, Carlene Wheat, Milton Briggs, Jr., Michael Philen and Rickey Sheppard. Also celebrating are country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, 55, actors Blake Lively, 29, Sean Connery, 86, chef Rachael Ray, 48 and TV host Regis Philbin, who turns 85.*****Aug. 26: One of our best bud’s Donna Dorman Scales rolls the clock over one more year. Michele Flowers, Jerry Mercer and Molly Abshire celebrate today. Joining them are actors Chris Pine, 36, Melissa McCarthy, 46, Macaulay Culkin, 36 and basketball player James Harden, 27.*****Aug. 27: Peggy Larson, Jaycie Dardeau, Nina Birdwell and David Green all celebrate today. Also having birthdays are country singer Colt Ford, 46 and gospel singer Yolanda Adams, 55.*****Aug. 28: Our friend where ever she is, Barbi Childress, celebrates today. I wish she would call. Also celebrating are Darla Daigle, Joe Luna, Meagan Carlin, Debbie Stark, Angie Jones and Theresa Wilson. Celebrities celebrating are actor Jack Black, 47, country singers Shania Twain, 51 and LeAnn Rimes, 34.*****Aug. 29: A very nice lady, former teacher, hair dresser and Lyle’s wife and partner, Janice Hearn Overman, celebrates today. Also  having birthdays today are Wanda Sanders, Kira Amy and our longtime friend, former newspaper editor and publisher Glenda Dyer, who with husband Paul, live just out of Nashville on a large family farm and have country stars as neighbors. Hope she’s coming this way soon, we’d like to visit with her. Also celebrating birthdays on this day are politician Sen. John McCain, 80, pop singer Paul McDonald, 32 and comedian Lenny Henry, 58.

A FEW HAPPENINGS

Kree Harrison, American Idol singer, will be returning home to Bridge City. Kree will perform Sept. 2, at Texas Tavern, 2845 Texas Ave, Suite 500. The show starts at 9 p.m., no reserved seating. Kree lived in Bridge City as a child which was the home of her late mother Kathy Roberts, a Bridge City High grad.*****We enjoyed a nice visit last week with Kate Wolfford, Buddy’s widow. She is Tommy Simar’s cousin. By the way, his lovely wife Sue brought us a couple of gallons of Muscadine grapes that I hope will turn into jelly soon.*****Trump flip flops on Afkanistan. In a televised broadcast Trump reading from a teleprompter declared that he was sending more troops to Afghanistan. That’s another sharp turn from campaign promises made at rallies and in interviews. Trump then described the war as a quagmire. He said, “We have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure, let’s get out now.” He said in his broadcast that he inherited a mess in Afghanistan. Not as big a mess as Obama did. Today we have 8,400 troops there. When George W. left, Obama inherited over 100,000 troops and body bags arriving daily with our young dead.***** The Wednesday Lunch Bunch dines at Robert’s this week and at Van Choate’s Tuffy’s next week where plans are being made to honor our local World II veterans. Everyone is always welcome. Great fellowship and food.*****By the first week in October former New York Yankee Derek Jeter and partner Bruce Sherman will be the new owners of the Marlins Major League baseball team. Jeter played 20 years for the Yankees and is a five time World Series champion. The Marlins need him more than ever. They are $400 million in debt and expected to lose $90 million this year. The Marlins have not produced a winning season since 2010. They have $300 million tied up in one player, Giancarlo Stanton. Other team owners are predicting Jeter will make the Miami franchise successful. He will be baseball version of Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets. In fact, Jordan will be a limited partner in Jeter’s group.*****We were sorry to learn of the death of Ralph Richardson, 94, who passed away Aug. 19. He was a colorful guy. Many will remember him and his brother, Tiny, as owners and musicians at B.O.’s Sparkle Club. Ralph was recognized as one of the best fiddler play ever. Service was held Sunday, Aug. 20. Please see obituary.*****Our condolences also to the family of Ruth Ellis, 94, who passed away Monday Aug. 21. She is the mother of Elaine Hearn and grandmother of D-Ray Hearn and Teressa George. No other information was available before my deadline. Arrangements are pending at Dorman Funeral Home. Please check our obituaries.*****Joe Arpaio, 85, doesn’t deserve a presidential pardon. The former Maricopa County sheriff faces up to six months in jail for willfully violating a federal court order. The sheriff, voted out of office, was famous for housing inmates in a sweltering tent city. Latinos taken into custody were abused. Hundreds of crimes, many against children, went unsolved.*****Two comedians who left their mark in totally different kinds of humor died over the weekend. Jerry Lewis, 91, died Sunday of natural causes in Los Angeles. He was a defining figure of American entertainment in the 20th century. Comedian and Civil Rights activist, Dick Gregory, 84, died Saturday. He used his humor to spread messages of social justice and nutritional health. He was the first Black standup comedian to find success with White audiences.*****Hype around the big fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Conor McGregor is that lefty McGregor might land the shocker. The 29 years old faces Mayweather, 40, who is 49-0, 26 KO’s. McGregor is 21-3, 18 KO’s. The 12 round fight is on Showtime Pay for View for $89.95. My bet is Mayweather wins. Bet $400 to win $100 McGregor bet $100 to win $300. Fight time is 8 p.m. Saturday.

CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK

Sostan Breaux and Clovis Comeaux, 82 and 83, were sitting on a bench in Mary Magdalene Park, in Abbeville, jus passing da time of day under a large live oak tree, wen Comeaux said, “Me, I get da pharmacist, Bobby Guidry, to cut my Viagra pills in eight pieced him.”

Sostan was puzzled, him. He axed, “Clovis, why you cut dem pills in eight pieces hanh?”

Clovis answered, “Well, I jus want it to come up just enough so I won’t pee on my new patent leather shoes.”

C’EST TOUT

Election time in Orange County brings nice pay raises. In the last couple of years money could not be found for raises. Today the Judge says we have plenty of money. How did we get all of that money? We didn’t find a money tree. The last three years appraisal values have gone up. That’s a good thing for all the entities, city, schools, etc. The county will tell you all those pay raises didn’t cost any tax increase but the truth is that it is costing every tax payer more, in some cases 20% more than two years ago. Since the county is flush with so much money, the right thing to have done is for once give the tax payer a break. At the rate of money the county is collecting, the right thing to do is cut the rate so tax payers would be paying the same as a couple of years ago. I’m glad for my friends who got nice raises, some $10,000 a year. Some officials are making over $100,000 a year. The tax values were up last year and this year up another $131 million. Over the past three years the county tax rate has been 54.4 cents per $100 valuation. Millions of dollars are in the bank. Working for county government has turned out to be one of the best jobs in the areas with 14 days paid holidays and up to four weeks paid vacation. When the Judge ran for office he criticized the previous administration for not having settled with the sheriff’s deputies. He said as soon as he got in office he would settle the dispute and negotiate a new contract. It has been three years now with no progress and the deputies are holding the trump card, an election coming up. Their attorney, Greg Cagle, is no dummy. He’ll wait until the election gets closer to play the card, hammering out a deal that is a big win. Carlton has to buy it if he is to keep his word to the citizens that he would settle a work agreement with the deputies. Meanwhile, tax payers could also use a break. Cut the rate back because it’s a sure bet the home owners tax bill will be higher again next year. Cut the tax rate now so the citizens don’t feel the hurt next year. It’s not enough to say “We didn’t raise your taxes,” while continuing to raise the bottom line.*****In the words of Baxter Black, “Call the dogs, put out the fire.” I’m all done here except to remind you if the storm in the Gulf comes ashore near Houston we would be on the right side and could get days of rain. Not good. I feel sorry for Pete at Coastal Landscaping, it’s been rain every day and now a storm.*****Please shop our advertisers. Tell them we sent you. Take care and God bless.